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Sampling Regimes and Microbiological Methods for Detecting Thermophilic Campylobacter spp. in Poultry on the Farm Before Slaughter

University of Bristol
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A survey of methods used in the UK and overseas will inform the writing of draft sampling and testing plans for practical evaluation. As part of the evaluation the best enrichment medium for a given sample type will be identified, e.g. samples to be tested will include boot swabs, single faecal droppings and caecal contents. Enrichment media to be included are Bolton, Preston, Exeter and mCCDA. The effect of pooling samples on the isolation rate will be examined. Pooling would significantly reduce the cost of testing a large number of samples. This is a particular problem when the flock prevalence is low, e.g. a 5% infection rate would require 59 samples to detect infection. The transportation of samples can have a significant effect on detection rates so factors such as time in transit, temperature and sample medium will investigated. At least four rapid detection methods will be compared initially using spiked samples. The most promising rapid methods will be subject to more detailed study using real samples.

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Background: The UK poultry industry requires properly validated, robust, simple and cheap sampling and testing regimes to identify campylobacter positive broiler flocks. Regular testing will enable poultry companies to monitor flocks and evaluate the effectiveness of biosecurity measures. Rapid detection methods will allow flocks to be tested just prior to slaughter and allow positive flocks to be scheduled for slaughter, e.g. processed at the end of the day or at a different processing plant. The project will identify optimal sampling and testing regimes and determine if rapid methods are suitable for this application.

Funding Source
Food Standards Agency
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Project number
Food Defense and Integrity